Category Archives: Orthodontic News

10 Most Common Orthodontic Instruments


Dental students need to know every facet and purpose of orthodontic instruments.

You’ve got to be at the very least a master of your own domain when it comes to your familiarity with every minute detail of function and your own efficient and comfortable confidence with them while performing your procedures. You must master all this before you hit the ground running in your chosen field of orthodontia.

Here’s a swift and thorough explanation of orthodontia’s most common instruments. Bookmark this page and keep it handy. You never know when you’re going to need just a little reminder. We’ve narrowed the most used instruments down to ten. Take a look. And then take your knowledge back to school, and eventually your own practice.

Your No-Muss, No-Fuss
Ortho Instrument Dictionary

1. Dental Mirrors

Allows dentists and dental assistants to view a mirror image of those teeth located so far in the back of the mouth that their visibility is either very difficult or impossible to examine with the naked eye.

2. Periodontal Probes

Usually long, thin and outfitted with a blunted end to relieve patient discomfort—is primarily used to measure pocket depths around the tooth to determine the health of the surrounding specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth.

3. Cotton Pliers

Resembling tweezers, cotton pliers are used to grasp and retrieve small objects in the mouth and to place cotton when isolating teeth during procedures.

4. Orthodontic Pliers

Designed for grasping auxiliary attachments inside the mouth, orthodontic pliers are outfitted with tips rounded  tips for comfort and safety. They are often serrated for superior grip. They may be angled, curved, offset or straight.

5. Wire Cutter/Pin and Ligature Cutters

Comprised of two tapered beaks rounded out by sharp cutting-ends, the wire cutter/pin and ligature cutter is used to cut stainless steel ligatures  tied to the arch wire. The arch wire conforms to the mouth’s natural dental arch and can be used with dental braces to correct irregularities in the position of the teeth.

6. Distal End Cutters

Comprised of two cutting surfaces angled to the right of the instrument’s axis, distal end cutters are used to slice through and remove the terminal end of a ligated arch wire.

7. Bite Sticks

Orthodontists use this device to apply your normal bands and to seat molar bands.The orthodontist puts the band in place and has the patient bite down on the stick to help push the band in place.

8. Posterior Band Removers

A specialized plier orthodontists use to remove bands from your teeth.

9. Cheek Retractors

These small plastic pieces are used to draw back your lips and cheeks so the orthodontist can access your mouth and better see your teeth while they are working.

10. Band Removers

A specialized plier orthodontists use to remove bands from your teeth.


Fun Facts About Braces and Orthdontics

Braces Trivia

An orthodontist needs four years of college, four years of dental school, and two years of postgraduate study in orthodontics before they can practice orthodontics.

All orthodontists are also board certified dentists

Dr Charles Tweed was the first certified orthodontist in the US.
The first “braces” were constructed by Pierre Fauchard in 1728. Fauchard’s “braces” consisted of a flat strip of metal, which was connected to teeth by pieces of thread. Continue reading Fun Facts About Braces and Orthdontics


Advances in orthodontic technology make for faster, more comfortable treatment



Modern orthodontic practices have evolved considerably over the last 20 years. Back then, tooth extractions were all too frequent and large, traditional one-size-fits-all brackets and wires were the standard of care. Continue reading Advances in orthodontic technology make for faster, more comfortable treatment


5 Common Misconceptions about Adult Orthodontics

What you think you know about braces might need some straightening out. Some of the most common misconceptions about braces center on who wears them, how they look and feel, how long treatment lasts, and what types of problems they can correct. Debunking these myths will be helpful for adults considering braces in New Jersey.

No one cares that my teeth are crooked, really. Do they? The fact is that people do make judgments about others based on their appearance, and straight teeth are associated with intelligence and success. It’s no wonder that even celebrities have chosen to seek orthodontic treatment. There is no need to go through life with a less-than-perfect smile when so many options are available to correct it.

Braces are only for young people. I’ll look silly! While it is true that the wearing of braces is most commonly associated with middle schoolers and teenagers, the truth is that anyone at any age can benefit from orthodontic evaluation and treatment. The development of lingual orthodontics has improved the variety of treatment options available. These modern, discreet options have contributed to a rise in the percentage of adult orthodontic patients. Incognito Hidden Braces, which straighten teeth from behind, keep the brackets and wires completely out of sight, so that the wearer looks no different than he or she did before.

My teeth are too old and too crooked to fix. Severely misaligned teeth can present a challenge to any experienced orthodontist, but as long as the gums and bones are healthy, the right option is waiting for you. No one has to live with a smile he or she doesn’t love.

Correcting adult teeth with braces will take years. Each orthodontic patient’s case is unique, of course, and treatment times will vary. Incognito Hidden Braces offer a major advantage over removable systems in terms of the time needed to complete treatment, since the wearer does not have the option to take them out for any length of time. They are bonded to the backs of the teeth and are custom-fit to move the teeth into perfect alignment. Past wearers of Incognito Braces, when asked to review their experiences, often report finishing more quickly than they had originally expected.

Braces have to hurt to work. The notion of “the tighter the better” is incorrect. Yes, you may experience some discomfort as your teeth and gums acclimate to your lingual braces. As the treatment progresses, however, your mouth will adapt, and you won’t even notice your braces any more. Incognito Hidden Braces are customized to the individual, increasing the effectiveness of the treatment with minimal discomfort.



Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Most people do not look forward to seeing their dentist. Surveys about the most loved or hated professions are often not kind to dentists.know-the-facts-lethbridge-dentist

Perhaps this is why dentists are sometimes portrayed as sinister characters in movies. For example, in Little Shop of Horrors, Steve Martin plays Orin, the evil dentist. In one song, he quotes his mom, singing: “You have a talent for causin’ things pain. Son, be a dentist. People will pay you to be inhumane.” And how about the sadistic dentist played by Laurence Olivier interrogating and torturing Dustin Hoffman’s character with a dental drill in Marathon Man? These characters seem to play on the fear many people have of seeing their dentist and getting dental care that may be painful.

While it’s true that going to the dentist isn’t at the top of things I do for fun, it usually isn’t thatbad. Unlike Orin, my dentist is great about making sure I’m numb before getting to work.

Dentists, of course, just want to do what’s best for their patients’ oral health. Your experience at the dentist should generally be pain-free, given modern medications and procedures.

Myths about teeth abound. Perhaps you’ve wondered about how to whiten stained teeth or what people mean when they say they have “soft teeth.” Maybe you never had a chance to ask your dentist—it’s hard to do when your mouth is full of instruments!

Here are five of my favorite dental myths:

1. All stains can be easily whitened or cleaned away.

Many things can discolor teeth, but not all of them can be fixed by a professional cleaning or tooth-whitening procedure. Tobacco, coffee and some foods can cause teeth to turn yellow or brown. Ingesting or inhaling certain metals can also change tooth color. For example, copper can turn teeth green, while mercury can turn them black. These stains usually come off easily with either a professional cleaning or a tooth-whitening procedure.

The discoloration related to damage or death of the pulp, the soft core of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves, is harder to fix, but it’s not impossible. The procedure involves putting bleach into the part of the tooth that contains the pulp.

Some stains just don’t respond well to whitening or cleaning. To deal with these types of stains, you generally need to get a procedure called bonding, in which a dentist paints a plasticlike material onto the tooth. For example, taking the antibiotic tetracycline in childhood, when your permanent teeth are developing, can cause stains that are hard or impossible to whiten. Or if your childhood drinking water had an excess of certain minerals in it, such as copper or silver, your teeth may be uneven in color.

Ironically, too much tooth whitening can make teeth look gray, because it turns the teeth translucent. How much whitening is too much differs from person to person, says Dr. John D. Da Silva of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. “It varies depending on tooth size, shape and thickness of enamel. That’s one of the reasons why you should see your dentist before bleaching your teeth,” he says.

2. “Soft” teeth cause cavities.

You may have heard someone say he has “soft” teeth and that’s why he gets lots of cavities. The truth is that teeth are hard. The enamel that covers the part of the teeth above the gum line is the hardest substance in the human body. It’s not softness that causes cavities—in fact, cavities are formed when acid produced by bacteria dissolves the hard enamel. This missing enamel (the “soft spot” in the tooth) is the cavity. But the tooth itself is not soft.

Some people are more susceptible to cavities and other mouth problems. But that’s not because their teeth are soft, it’s because of a mix of genetics, what they eat, medical problems they have, medications they take and how well they take care of their teeth.


3. Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.

This one’s partly true. Chewing gum of any kind increases saliva production—a good thing, because saliva cleans the teeth and neutralizes acid. The sugar found in some gum, however, feeds bacteria. So whether gum is good for you or not depends on whether it’s sugar-free or not. Sugar-free gum can actually be good for teeth; it seems that a particular type of artificial sweetener, xylitol, fights oral bacteria better than other types of sweeteners.

4. Fluoride is unsafe.

Studies show that adding fluoride to a community’s drinking water is associated with a 50 percent to 70 percent drop in the level of tooth decay. The widespread fluoridation of drinking water is often cited as one of the greatest public-health accomplishments of the 20th century.

Yet rumors linking fluoride to health problems abound. It gets connected to heart disease, allergies and genetic abnormalities, to name a few. But numerous studies refute claims that the current level of fluoride in drinking water causes these problems. And many important health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association, support fluoridation.

That said, fluoride can be dangerous—even lethal—if you ingest excessive amounts—2.5 to 5 grams for an average adult. However, that would mean drinking 5,000 to 10,000 glasses of fluoridated water in one sitting. The biggest poisoning danger is for children who get into improperly stored fluoride tablets or ingest a large amount of a fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinse.

5. Old people actually get “long in the tooth.”

OK, I doubt many people actually believe this. Maybe this one isn’t so much a myth as it is a phrase that reflects an interesting dental phenomenon: The gums of humans and certain animals (especially horses) tend to pull away from the teeth as they age. This makes the teeth appear to be getting longer. This phrase refers to anything old, worn out or old-fashioned.

By the way, the relationship between a horse’s age and the appearance of its teeth also explains the phrase “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” If someone gave you a horse as a gift, it would be rude to immediately look at its teeth to see how old—and therefore how valuable—it is. It would be like looking at a gift’s label or its price tag in front of the gift giver—not polite!

Maybe it’s too much to expect that you’ll actually look forward to seeing your dentist every visit. But considering what we put our teeth through over a lifetime, it’s worth taking good care of your teeth and knowing the difference between dental myths and facts.


How will my injury be treated?

Chipped or Fractured Teeth

traumaticinjuries01Most chipped or fractured tooth crowns can be repaired either by reattaching the broken piece or by placing a tooth-colored filling. If a significant portion of the tooth crown is broken off, an artificial crown or “cap” may be needed to restore the tooth.

If the pulp is exposed or damaged after a crown fracture, root canal treatment may be needed. These injuries require special attention. If breathing through your mouth or drinking cold fluids is painful, bite on clean, moist gauze or cloth to help relieve symptoms until reaching your dentist’s office. Never use topical oral pain medications (such as Anbesol®) or ointments, or place aspirin on the affected areas to eliminate pain symptoms. Continue reading How will my injury be treated?


4 Steps to a Perfect Dental Marketing Plan

dental plan

Step 1: Start with tried and true postcard marketing.
Postcard marketing is a proven method for bringing in new patients to your practice. Direct mail casts your marketing net. You use targeted mailing lists to put your message right in the mailbox of qualified prospects, such as those who are new to the area and have dental insurance. When these prospects contact your office and book appointments, your professionalism and treatment quality turns them into long-term patients.
Another use for postcards is to bring current patients in for checkup appointments. Growing your practice is about growing every aspect of your patient base, so that means getting more from your current patients too. Direct mail marketing gets you results for both of these goals. Continue reading 4 Steps to a Perfect Dental Marketing Plan


A New Era in Dental Management and Marketing

A dentist is no longer just a dentist. To survive in today’s economic climate, a dentist must shift attention to matters such as employee management, OSHA compliance, malpractice, web presence, and search-engine optimization. This “juggling act” has forced dentists to wear too many hats and sacrifice the one thing that led them to dentistry in the first place, caring for patients. In order to regain this lost identity, dentists must develop creative and efficient ways of tech2

Today, marketing companies offer endless opportunities to promote a dental office. However, a dentist must be careful and prudent to avoid potential scams and maximize their investment. Through my many years in practice, I have found the most important factor in ensuring your marketing dollars don’t go to waste is internal marketing. This includes the demeanor and outlook of the staff, office theme and décor, cleanliness, and anything else that enhances the patient’s overall experience during a visit. Marketing will surely increase traffic; however, that is only half the battle. The key to marketing is making sure that patients enjoy their visit and come back. Continue reading A New Era in Dental Management and Marketing


How Can I Work in Orthodontology?

As in all specialty areas of dentistry, you’ll need to begin your education at the undergraduate level. Dentistry programs include significant science-related coursework. Some schools offer pre-dentistry programs that take 2-4 years to complete. Other relevant options include biology, chemistry or a natural science major, each which typically meet prerequisite coursework requirements of dental schools.orthodontology

You’ll need to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) to be admitted into an accredited 4-year dental program. In dental schools, you’ll likely take courses in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry accompanied by hands-on clinical practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist. You can earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll need to obtain a state license by completing written and clinical testing requirements. All states offer licensing in general dentistry as well as orthodontics. Continue reading How Can I Work in Orthodontology?


What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?

Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. Continue reading What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?